Mucuna pruriens seed powder feeding influences reproductive conditions and development in Japanese quail Coturnix coturnix japonica

Animal. 2009 Feb;3(2):261-8. doi: 10.1017/S175173110800339X.


This study was designed to test whether Mucuna pruriens, a natural source of l-dihydroxyphenylalanine (l-DOPA, a dopamine precursor) feeding, can influence development and reproductive conditions in the high food value bird, Japanese quail, Coturnix coturnix japonica. Experiments were performed in both male and female Japanese quail. One-week-old quail chicks were divided into three groups of 36 birds each. Group I was provided with normal diet and served as control. Group II was provided with food mixed with l-DOPA (50 mg/15 g food) and Group III was provided with food mixed with M. pruriens seed powder (480 g/kg food). At the age of 3 weeks (when birds were sexually distinguished) Group I was divided into two sub-groups IA (male) and IB (female) of six birds each. Similarly, Groups II and III were sub-divided into IIA (male), IIB (female) and IIIA (male), IIIB (female), respectively, of six birds each. Observations were made up to the age of 5 weeks. Male experimental groups (IIA and IIIA) showed significantly increased testicular activity, cloacal gland volume, body weight (BW), plasma testosterone and LH level in comparison to control (IA). Similarly female experimental groups (IIB and IIIB) showed significantly greater weight of reproductive organs (uterus, ovary, oviduct and ovarian follicle), BW, egg weight and size and number of follicles. On the other hand, plasma prolactin level was significantly low in comparison to control (IB). Results suggest that M. pruriens is a rich natural source of l-DOPA and the development and reproduction in Japanese quail might be associated with the dopaminergic system of the brain.